The overall goal of this small park facility is to orient and educate visitors about the 600 acre Arastradero Preserve and inspire stewardship and respect for its natural resources.
Bluhon Planning Group and Arkin Tilt Architects worked closely with a 10 member Task Force to define the program and study design options. The gateway is integrated into the natural landscape with minimum impact to visual and ecological resources and existing infrastructure: it features a simple passive solar design, photovoltaic electricity, and a mix of straw-bale and recycled timber construction.
Sited next to the existing parking lot, the facility will serve as base for the restoration of the degraded site. In a unique public/private partnership, Bay Area Action (now Acterra) is the steward of the Preserve, therefore the structures will provide space and amenities not only for park visitors but also for volunteers to gather and learn about the Preserve as well as conduct habitat restoration.
Based on the local vernacular of low-profile horse barns, the program is broken into 3 small structures, arranged to create usable outdoor spaces: a ‘volunteer’ space bounded by tool storage—removed from the flow of the pedestrian traffic but visible from it—as well as shaded spaces for visitors to sit, critical in the exposed site.